ArtsEd originated from two schools, one founded in 1919 by Grace Cone and one in 1922 by Olive Ripman. These two women were ground-breaking educational pioneers who believed passionately in the value of combining a general academic education with a specialised training in dance, drama, music and art, preparing young men and women for professional careers in or related to the theatre.
In 1939 Grace and Olive joined forces to create the Cone Ripman School, subsequently named the Arts Educational Schools. Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin drew almost exclusively on ArtsEd students to help them create their revolutionary company London Festival Ballet - which eventually became the English National Ballet. Ballerina Dame Beryl Grey became Director of the Schools in the 1960s and ArtsEd continued to innovate, introducing both professional acting and musical theatre courses before many of their competitors. In I986 the old Chiswick Polytechnic building was purchased and the school moved to its present home - Cone Ripman House.
ArtsEd has developed over the years and today our musical theatre training is recognised as the best in the UK. Our acting for film and TV training has been praised for its innovation and our day school is the highest ranking performing arts school in the UK. Based in Chiswick in West London, we play a vibrant role in our local community. Many local residents see our shows, enjoy our training and use our theatre facilities each year. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber became President in 2007, following in the footsteps of Dame Alicia Markova and heralding an auspicious new era for ArtsEd.
In recognition of the quality of our training ArtsEd was awarded a grant of £3,544,200 by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to fund a major refurbishment project. The money was spent on improving four key areas: the main theatre, costume storage, the School of Film and Television and the school’s access facilities. On Thursday, 14 November 2013 the school launched its new theatre in the presence of a range of celebrated alumni and President and benefactor Lord Lloyd Webber with a performance of one of his most celebrated musicals, Evita. The refurbished auditorium is now fully accessible from both levels. An orchestra pit and a new control room have been added and technical improvements include new lighting and sound infrastructure and increased flying capacity. ArtsEd’s new theatre is now a state-of-the-art 21st century performance space enabling students to more closely experience West End conditions.
We remain committed to improving the quality of our facilities to ensure that these match the high standards of our training. Our next goal is to redesign the Studio Theatre, our most creative space, to enable us to offer increasingly flexible staging formats and recreate the conditions of a live TV studio, providing real, industry experience to our students as we prepare them for their future careers.